Feldman Wins Goldberg Memorial Lecture Award for Pharma Policy Work

Prof. Robin Feldman has been honored with the 2020 Leon I. Goldberg Memorial Lecture Award by the University of Chicago’s Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics for her work in pharmaceutical policy and law. She is the first person from outside the field of medicine to receive the award, which is now in its twenty-eighth year.

Dr. Mark J. Ratain, Leon O. Jacobson Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago and a member of the committee that bestows the award, introduced Feldman at the Department of Medicine’s Grand Rounds lecture and said that her work is “seminal” and “consistently high impact.”

“While we talk often of the relationship of scientific discoveries to modern medicine,” Ratain said, “today we will be hearing from Professor Feldman about the societal incentives to translate such discoveries, equally fundamental to all modern medicines.”

Feldman, who is UC Hastings’ Arthur J. Goldberg Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Innovation (C4i), has published extensively about the strategies that drug companies use to extend patent and non-patent protections for drugs. Known as evergreening, the strategies contribute to the high price of drugs, block competition, and interact with health insurance reimbursement in ways that restrict patient access to drugs.

Her lecture was presented online last month and titled after her work of the same name, “May Your Drug Price Be Evergreen.” Feldman focused on the rise of drug prices and the strategic behaviors that drug companies use to delay cheaper generics from coming to market or competing effectively.

“I’m honored to have been selected for the Memorial Lecture Award honoring Dr. Goldberg,” Feldman said. “It’s affirming to see his legacy in groundbreaking medical discoveries also honoring the critical role that policy and patent law play in delivering life-saving drugs.”

Leon Isodore Goldberg was considered a giant in the field of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics. He was best known for his contributions to the treatment of cardiovascular disease—especially for his research on dopamine as a vasopressor, which treats low blood pressure. He served on the faculty of the University of Chicago from 1974 until his untimely death in 1988.

Policymakers, advocates, and journalists have focused increased interest in the intersection of patent law and drug prices. Recent attention to Feldman’s work in the field includes citations by the American College of Physicians on improving drug pricing and competition, and news coverage in NPR, Vox, and Law360.